There are many ways for you to enter into the life and spirit of L’Arche. Perhaps you have an interest in working with people who have intellectual disabilities. Perhaps you feel a spiritual resonance with L’Arche’s vision of solidarity with persons who have been marginalized. Maybe it’s just a sense that there must be something more to life. Whether your interest is as a volunteer, financial contributor or as a live-in Assistant, we would like to hear from you!
Be an Assistant
People with an intellectual disability are known as “Core Members” and “Assistants” are those who come to share life with them.
Be a Financial Supporter
Become a partner in building a strong network of L’Arche communities across the U.S., and extending the values and vision of L’Arche in society
Be a Volunteer
There are plenty of opportunities for you to become involved as an occasional volunteer in one of our communities.
Becoming an Assistant
Be an Assistant at L’Arche
People with an intellectual disability are known as “Core Members” and “assistants” are those who come to share life with them. Assistants accompany Core Members in their activities of daily life: creating home and supporting Core Members in sharing their gifts and abilities within the house and the larger community.
What do Assistants do?
Assistants work to build a relationship of mutual care and support with people with intellectual disabilities; fostering a home life that embodies unity, mutual respect and participation by all members. Assistants also provide direct care support and promote skill building for Core Members. All of this includes, but is not limited to, personal care needs, money management, medical care, appointments, family and work relationships and connections, household chores, laundry, medications, meal preparation, and transportation. An important aspect of an assistant’s role is supporting the person with an intellectual disability in ‘life planning’, that is, assisting the person with an intellectual disability in making informed choices and working out ways together to best meet the person’s needs, hopes and aspirations.
Who becomes a L’Arche Assistant?
For us, some of the most important criteria are an open heart, willingness to learn, commitment to personal growth, and belief in the unique sacredness and value of every individual. Assistants can range in age from the early 20s on up. Assistants come to L’Arche from all stages of life: after college, as a shift from a previous career, or after their formal career. As an international organization, we also often welcome assistants from other countries, which can add a unique cultural diversity to our communities.
Do I need special training to be a L’Arche Assistant?
Some people who come to live in L’Arche may already have experience working with people with intellectual disabilities, but most have not. The first requirement is that applicants have a desire to share life together in a faith community setting living alongside people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, potential Assistants must be able to perform the duties as outlined in the Assistant role description, i.e., as a caregiver for people with disabilities. Besides training in skills for caregiving, L’Arche provides educational experiences on broader topics that help assistants reflect on their vision for humanity and to grow in their relationships with others. Underlying all training and support is the belief that the quality of life of the people with intellectual disabilities is directly affected by the way caregivers think and relate and the view of the world that they hold.
Becoming a Financial Supporter
Each L’Arche community throughout the world is responsible for its own administration and funding. The communities in the USA receive partial funding from the government and must rely on donations and grants for the other portion, as well as fund-raising and from the gifts of friends. These gifts and voluntary donations are essential for the overall running and development of L’Arche Long Island. We also appreciate and thank all of you who support us through prayer. We believe this is a valuable contribution to our communities.
Becoming a Volunteer
There are plenty of opportunities for you to become involved as an occasional volunteer in one of our communities. Help prepare a meal in one of the homes or lend a hand with the household chores. Spend a day at the house or in the community office. Or just be a friend to one of our Core Members or Assistants. What you do is not as important as just being here. No matter about your age, your skills or your gifts, we have a place for you! Contact the L’Arche Community office near you to find out more about volunteering at L’Arche.